By Chris Simones
Susie Daven-port of the Warren County Election Commission reports a change in early voting hours this year that she hopes will make early voting an option for more people.
“On Mondays our office will be open from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. during this early voting period,” Davenport said. “We’re going to try to give folks who work out of town more opportunity to participate in early voting.”
Early voting for the State and Federal Primary and County General Election begins Friday, July 17, and runs through Saturday, Aug. 1. Voting hours Tuesday through Friday are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon.
Davenport encourages everyone coming to vote to please wear a mask.
“It’s not a requirement but we certainly would appreciate it if everyone would,” said Davenport. “We wish we could provide masks but we don’t think it’s economically feasible for us to provide masks for the 20,000 voters of Warren County.”
In addition to wearing masks, voters are encouraged to maintain a 6-foot distance from poll officials and other voters. All poll officials will be wearing face coverings and are trained in social distancing protocols.
A greeter will be on duty to hand out a packet containing rubber gloves, an ink pen, and an “I Voted” sticker.
“We’re hoping that by everyone putting on their gloves as soon as they get them, wearing them throughout the entire voting process, and removing and disposing of them as they leave the office we can avoid as much contact as possible,” Davenport explained.
The greeter will also ask everyone coming in if they have a fever or if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19. “If so, we’ll assist those voters in registering for absentee voting,” Davenport said.
Davenport recommends if you have been exposed to COVID-19 or you have determined it is impossible or unreasonable to vote in person due to the virus situation that you either request an absentee ballot by calling 473-5834 or fill out the form available at govotetn.com. The form needs to be filled out and submitted no later than July 30.
“Someone could even print the form, fill it out, sign it, take a picture of it with their cellphone, and text it to our email address at email@example.com,” Davenport said. “We’re trying to make it as easy as possible.”
Don’t forget to bring your valid Tennessee photo ID with you, which is required to vote. A driver’s license or photo ID issued by Tennessee state government or the federal government are acceptable even if they are expired. College student IDs are not acceptable.
“We’ll ask you to lay down your Tennessee photo ID on the table so we can look at it and we’ll use that to look up your information,” Davenport said.
Election Day is Thursday, Aug. 6.